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Meet Clifton Adams

Today we’d like to introduce you to Clifton Adams.

Hi Clifton, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Hey Y’all! I’m Clifton, but you can call me Cliffies! I’m a thirty years old Black Queer creative artist right here in Los Angeles. I’m originally born and raised in the land of Queen Bey and TexMex; Houston, TX. Except for this little stint in my childhood where my family lived in Denver. I’ve always kind of had a knack for the stage because I’ve been doing school plays since kindergarten. But I really caught the bug in third grade when I was cast as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in my school’s Black History month play. With the exception of JROTC a couple of years, I did competitive Texas theatre through middle and high school and eventually went on to receive my B.F.A and M.F.A in acting. Not that those REALLY mean anything in the industry, but they’re cute accomplishments I guess. I moved to LA in 2017 right after Hurricane Harvey. Like as soon as the highways were open I booked it. I can still recall passing by the flooded neighborhoods as I made my way to my dreams.

Have I gotten there yet? I don’t know, but life is definitely a journey and I’m loving to appreciate the little pieces that help bring all you desire into fruition. I came out here centered on acting. I mean I have a M.F.A for Goddess’ sake! And it’s still a constant and consistent part of my creative expression that I’m working on. Of course, to support my career journey, I’ve had to work other jobs to make up for the money I wasn’t making acting. Some of those including The Braille Institute of America and Flaming Saddles….good times. Currently, I work full-time from home at the Los Angeles Black Worker Center. This job has definitely been my ultimate saving grace during the pandemic and a blessing in disguise to say the least. But as the ebb and flow of the entertainment industry is ever changing, I, too, have to find my balance on this wave of content creation. In a bought of creative and spiritual depression, I was going through during my first few months in the city, I wrote my first script. And the rest is Herstory. I’ve definitely grown more into my creative expression of screenwriting. As a storyteller, I want to see films with universal storylines seen through the eyes of Queer Black characters and other underrepresented beings. That’s the next step. And that’s what I try to accomplish in the stories I create. And, present topics that can beat down the walls of generational trauma. But entertaining of course. That’s my mantra as an artist.

Currently, I am in post-production for my very first short film, Sunflower Nicky, that I wrote and directed. I’ve starred and produced a couple of shorts before, but this one is my own. My firstborn. Under my production company, Eye of Ra Productions, LLC. I have been working on this story for three years now and to witness it all come to life has been a rollercoaster journey of faith, love, and joy. I’ve truly been honored to have collaborated with the best team of artists a Unicorn like myself could ask for. I built a literal dream team of so many Women, Queer artists, BLACK artists, artists of COLOR, you name it! Even our few straight guys. It was really a melting pot of love and creative joy during production and I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience. We are even sponsored by my organization The Los Angeles Black Worker Center. Excited to share this story of light, innocence, wonder, and freedom of expression with everyone. The music video for our original song, Sunflower, created by Black Queer artist ThePoet Andrew (@thepoetandrew) will be released in August. He is also a fellow producer and composer to the film. Follow our journey on Instagram @sunflowernickythefilm.

Last year during a Gender Equity training held by Dr. Erika Hart, I awoke to the realization that I was Non-Binary. To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what that means, but constantly learning and figuring that out. What is life if not a journey? I haven’t fully solidified my pronouns but currently digging Fae/Fem/Firs. So I’ll go by that for now. As I approach my five years mark in the city, I can say the main things I’ve learned are consistency and patience. Emphasis on the patience. Because it all tends to work out in the end. It may be the Sagittarius in me, but I love being a student. Whether to my art or to life, there’s always so much to learn and I want to learn it all. That’s the goal anyway.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. Obviously, Los Angeles is not the easiest city to live in when you’re trying to be a full-time artist. Honestly, all artists should come with their own personal therapist with the shit we go through to be able to tell our stories. I definitely think struggles with my identity and, of course, the looming pandemic have been the main obstacles for me when navigating my purpose on this planet. I mean, it really is a different life perspective being a Queer Black artist trying to make a living in America.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am an Actor, Writer, Director, Producer, and Multi-hyphenate. But just love ART. My primary artistic outlet is acting but I picked up writing in 2017. Directing kind of comes in hand with acting training, but Producing separates the adults from the kids. I am currently in post-production for the short film that I wrote and directed, Sunflower Nicky. It’s a coming-of-age story that follows a young Black boy and his journey of expressive freedom in his conservative household. And it’s all under my production company, Eye of Ra Productions, LLC. This is a story I’ve been working on for about three years and have been blessed to collaborate with a diverse group of artists to help bring this story to life. As an actor turned “content creator”, I knew that if I was going to create and tell a story from the ground up, it needed to mean something to me. Something that I felt could show my thoughts and how I feel about specific social norms and ideologies that keep traumatizing us generation after generation. In a world where many actors and performers are being forced to put themselves on camera, I wanted to make sure that my first time behind the camera was fully focused on that. And I believe because of that sentiment, my team and I were able to create a story that universally speaks to so many people. Through this process, I learned the meaning of collaboration and what it truly means for artists of all different backgrounds to come together and make art. Super excited to share our work!

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was a pretty shy kid. I think due to the trauma I experienced as a kid, I relied heavily on my imagination. Probably why I’m able to pick up a knack for writing so easily. I’ve definitely always loved movies and found myself getting lost in them to avoid reality. Hated the idea of taking sports seriously, but was actually pretty good a street football. I was an obvious queer kid growing up and definitely felt the ramifications of that from various sources. But I definitely think those experiences helped make me who I am today. For better or for worse.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Pink Wall – Additional Model: Ronald Mercer (@official_ronaldmercer) Sunflower Nicky BTS 1 – Director (Me @_cliffies) speaking with two actors; Maliyah Kellam (Jordyn) @maliyah_monae & Kamiah Baker (Alexis) @miah.arie.2 Sunflower Nicky BTS 2 – Director (Me @_cliffies) speaking with Cinematographer Monica Mejia (@aijem.mejia) & 1st AD Vaneh Assadourian (@vaneh_33) Sunflower Nicky Teaser Photo: created by Wendell Pascual (@asceticfish) – Thank you for your creative spirit. Rest Easy.

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